Messi’s form shouldn’t be an issue, his injuries should

November 12, 2013 in Europe by William Kent

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Currently, Lionel Messi is La Liga’s third highest scorer and also eighth on the assist tally chart, achieving both these positions whilst being hindered with repeated injuries. Other awards so far include being Barca’s second highest chance creator, producing a total of 19 chances and also scoring six goals in three Champions League games. Yet people still complain that Messi is suffering ‘bad form’, triggered from a four game goal drought. It’s almost annoyed me a bit, with some media outlets calling it a ‘crisis’.

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I do actually agree that Messi isn’t on top form in comparison to what we’re used to. But, he’s still averaging either a goal or assist every 64 minutes in La Liga which is in fact a better ratio than Cristiano Ronaldo’s current form either one every 65 minutes.

Also, he isn’t playing as similar role to last season where he knocked up 46 goals in 32 games. There have been times where he’s switched back to his old position, playing from the right wing and cutting inside. Still, this isn’t to say why he isn’t scoring as many goals, it could just be seen as an indicator that he’s accustomed to playing through the middle, and that playing right wing is giving him more to think about again. Reading deeper into this, other team mates have stepped up with both Pedro and Sanchez scoring ten between them, the pressure is off him to score every game - maybe being the focus point was something he was driven by? Who knows, this is all just speculation. Maybe he’s just taken advice from Rory McIlroy and swapped his boots?

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“This time there have been two injuries really close together and that kind of impact you do notice,” Messi told the official Uefa website. For a footballer with an current overall season record of 14 goals in as many games, it goes to show that even Messi himself believes he’s even better with what he’s producing, a record of which nearly all players would kill for. For a neutral, like myself, statements such as this only make football even more interesting. If 14 in 14 isn’t good enough even when suffering from injuries, what is? However, they are the problem. Becoming increasingly prone to suffering set backs, such as yet another suspected hamstring tear from his side’s 4-1 win over Real Betis. Even Alejandro Sabella has stated his fears over Messi and his injury troubles especially as the World Cup approaches quicker and quicker.

I don’t think it’s the form of Messi which should be the centre of attention, it should be his fitness and injury troubles. Whilst the Barcelona can and have proved to cope without Messi, they’re always a better side with him. I’d rather have an under performing Messi and than not having one at all.

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